The captain of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia claimed on Italian TV that another officer was in charge of the vessel when it hit rocks and capsized off the coast of Italy in January.
Captain Francesco Schettino also claimed he was distracted by a phone call just before the accident, in which 32 people drowned.
Schettino, who is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship while passengers and crew were still onboard, said in an interview with an Italian news programme that "destiny" had played a role in what was a "banal accident".
The captain, who is accused of causing the accident by sailing too close to rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio, claimed in the interview that he had saved lives by steering the hulled ship to shallower waters nearer to the port before ordering an evacuation.
Later this month a judge will hear further evidence in the case, including recordings from the ship's "black box", before deciding whether Schettino should stand trial.
By Linsey McNeill
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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